Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV
Francis Parkman

Part 6 out of 7

houses," properly so called, though the name was often given to
fortified dwellings occupied only by the family. The French and Indian
war-parties commonly avoided the true garrison houses, and very rarely
captured them, except unawares; for their tactics were essentially
Iroquois, and consisted, for the most part, in pouncing upon peaceful
settlers by surprise, and generally in the night. Combatants and
non-combatants were slaughtered together. By parading the number of
slain, without mentioning that most of them were women and children,
and by counting as forts mere private houses surrounded with
palisades, Charlevoix and later writers have given the air of gallant
exploits to acts which deserve a very different name. To attack
military posts, like Casco and Pemaquid, was a legitimate act of war;
but systematically to butcher helpless farmers and their families can
hardly pass as such, except from the Iroquois point of view.

The chief alleged motive for this ruthless warfare was to prevent the
people of New England from invading Canada, by giving them employment
at home; though, in fact, they had never thought of invading Canada
till after these attacks began. But for the intrigues of Denonville,
the Bigots, Thury, and Saint-Castin, before war was declared, and the
destruction of Salmon Falls after it, Phips's expedition would never
have taken place. By successful raids against the borders of New
England, Frontenac roused the Canadians from their dejection, and
prevented his red allies from deserting him; but, in so doing, he
brought upon himself an enemy who, as Charlevoix himself says, asked
only to be let alone. If there was a political necessity for
butchering women and children on the frontier of New England, it was a
necessity created by the French themselves.

There was no such necessity. Massachusetts was the only one of the New
England colonies which took an aggressive part in the contest.
Connecticut did little or nothing. Rhode Island was non-combatant
through Quaker influence; and New Hampshire was too weak for offensive
war. Massachusetts was in no condition to fight, nor was she impelled
to do so by the home government. Canada was organized for war, and
must fight at the bidding of the king, who made the war and paid for
it. Massachusetts was organized for peace; and, if she chose an
aggressive part, it was at her own risk and her own cost. She had had
fighting enough already against infuriated savages far more numerous
than the Iroquois, and poverty and political revolution made peace a
necessity to her. If there was danger of another attack on Quebec, it
was not from New England, but from Old; and no amount of frontier
butchery could avert it.

Nor, except their inveterate habit of poaching on Acadian fisheries,
had the people of New England provoked these barbarous attacks. They
never even attempted to retaliate them, though the settlements of
Acadia offered a safe and easy revenge. Once, it is true, they
pillaged Beaubassin; but they killed nobody, though countless
butcheries in settlements yet more defenceless were fresh in their
memory. [Footnote: The people of Beaubassin had taken an oath of
allegiance to England in 1690, and pleaded it as a reason for
exemption from plunder; but it appears by French authorities that they
had violated it (_Observations sur les Depêches touchant l'Acadie_,
1695), and their priest Baudoin had led a band of Micmacs to the
attack of Wells (Villebon, _Journal_). When the "Bostonnais" captured
Port Royal, they are described by the French as excessively irritated
by the recent slaughter at Salmon Falls, yet the only revenge they
took was plundering some of the inhabitants.]

With New York, a colony separate in government and widely sundered in
local position, the case was different. Its rulers had instigated the
Iroquois to attack Canada, possibly before the declaration of war, and
certainly after it; and they had no right to complain of reprisal. Yet
the frontier of New York was less frequently assailed, because it was
less exposed; while that of New England was drenched in blood, because
it was open to attack, because the Abenakis were convenient
instruments for attacking it, because the adhesion of these tribes was
necessary to the maintenance of French power in Acadia, and because
this adhesion could best be secured by inciting them to constant
hostility against the English. They were not only needed as the
barrier of Canada against New England, but the French commanders
hoped, by means of their tomahawks, to drive the English beyond the
Piscataqua, and secure the whole of Maine to the French crown.

Who were answerable for these offences against Christianity and
civilization? First, the king; and, next, the governors and military
officers who were charged with executing his orders, and who often
executed them with needless barbarity. But a far different
responsibility rests on the missionary priests, who hounded their
converts on the track of innocent blood. The Acadian priests are not
all open to this charge. Some of them are even accused of being too
favorable to the English; while others gave themselves to their proper
work, and neither abused their influence, nor perverted their teaching
to political ends. The most prominent among the apostles of carnage,
at this time, are the Jesuit Bigot on the Kennebec, and the seminary
priest Thury on the Penobscot. There is little doubt that the latter
instigated attacks on the English frontier before the war, and there
is conclusive evidence that he had a hand in repeated forays after it
began. Whether acting from fanaticism, policy, or an odious compound
of both, he was found so useful, that the minister Ponchartrain twice
wrote him letters of commendation, praising him in the same breath for
his care of the souls of the Indians and his zeal in exciting them to
war. "There is no better man," says an Acadian official, "to prompt
the savages to any enterprise." [Footnote: Tibièrge, _Mémoire sur
l'Acadie_, 1695.] The king was begged to reward him with money; and
Ponchartrain wrote to the bishop of Quebec to increase his pay out of
the allowance furnished by the government to the Acadian clergy,
because he, Thury, had persuaded the Abenakis to begin the war anew. [1]

The French missionaries are said to have made use of singular methods
to excite their flocks against the heretics. The Abenaki chief
Bomaseen, when a prisoner at Boston in 1696, declared that they told
the Indians that Jesus Christ was a Frenchman, and his mother, the
Virgin, a French lady; that the English had murdered him, and that the
best way to gain his favor was to revenge his death. [Footnote:
Mather, _Magnalia_, II. 629. Compare Dummer, _Memorial_, 1709, in
_Mass. Hist. Coll_., 3 _Ser_., I., and the same writer's _Letter to a
Noble Lord concerning the Late Expedition to Canada_, 1712. Dr.
Charles T. Jackson, the geologist, when engaged in the survey of Maine
in 1836, mentions, as an example of the simplicity of the Acadians of
Madawaska, that one of them asked him "if Bethlehem, where Christ was
born, was not a town in France." _First Report on the Geology of
Maine_, 72. Here, perhaps, is a tradition from early missionary

Whether or not these articles of faith formed a part of the teachings
of Thury and his fellow-apostles, there is no doubt that it was a
recognized part of their functions to keep their converts in hostility
to the English, and that their credit with the civil powers depended
on their success in doing so. The same holds true of the priests of
the mission villages in Canada. They avoided all that might impair the
warlike spirit of the neophyte, and they were well aware that in
savages the warlike spirit is mainly dependent on native ferocity.
They taught temperance, conjugal fidelity, devotion to the rites of
their religion, and submission to the priest; but they left the savage
a savage still. In spite of the remonstrances of the civil
authorities, the mission Indian was separated as far as possible from
intercourse with the French, and discouraged from learning the French
tongue. He wore a crucifix, hung wampum on the shrine of the Virgin,
told his beads, prayed three times a day, knelt for hours before the
Host, invoked the saints, and confessed to the priest; but, with rare
exceptions, he murdered, scalped, and tortured like his heathen
countrymen. [2]

The picture has another side, which must not pass unnoticed. Early in
the war, the French of Canada began the merciful practice of buying
English prisoners, and especially children, from their Indian allies.
After the first fury of attack, many lives were spared for the sake of
this ransom. Sometimes, but not always, the redeemed captives were
made to work for their benefactors. They were uniformly treated well,
and often with such kindness that they would not be exchanged, and
became Canadians by adoption.

Villebon was still full of anxiety as to the adhesion of the Abenakis.
Thury saw the danger still more clearly, and told Frontenac that their
late attack at Oyster River was due more to levity than to any other
cause; that they were greatly alarmed, wavering, half stupefied,
afraid of the English, and distrustful of the French, whom they
accused of using them as tools. [Footnote: _Thury à Frontenac_, 11
_Sept_., 1694.] It was clear that something must be done; and nothing
could answer the purpose so well as the capture of Pemaquid, that
English stronghold which held them in constant menace, and at the same
time tempted them by offers of goods at a low rate. To the capture of
Pemaquid, therefore, the French government turned its thoughts.

One Pascho Chubb, of Andover, commanded the post, with a garrison of
ninety-five militia-men. Stoughton, governor of Massachusetts, had
written to the Abenakis, upbraiding them for breaking the peace, and
ordering them to bring in their prisoners without delay. The Indians
of Bigot's mission, that is to say, Bigot in their name, retorted by a
letter to the last degree haughty and abusive. Those of Thury's
mission, however, were so anxious to recover their friends held in
prison at Boston that they came to Pemaquid, and opened a conference
with Chubb. The French say that they meant only to deceive him.
[Footnote: Villebon, _Journal_, 1694-1696.] This does not justify the
Massachusetts officer, who, by an act of odious treachery, killed
several of them, and captured the chief, Egeremet. Nor was this the
only occasion on which the English had acted in bad faith. It was but
playing into the hands of the French, who saw with delight that the
folly of their enemies had aided their own intrigues. [Footnote: _N.
Y. Col Docs._, IX. 613, 616, 642, 643; La Potherie, III. 258;
_Calières au Mlnistre_, 25 _Oct_., 1695; _Rev. John Pike to Governor
and Council_, 7 _Jan_., 1694 (1695), in Johnston, _Hist. of Bristol
and Bremen_; Hutchinson, _Hist. Mass._, II. 81, 90.]

Early in 1696, two ships of war, the "Envieux" and the "Profond," one
commanded by Iberville and the other by Bonaventure, sailed from
Rochefort to Quebec, where they took on board eighty troops and
Canadians; then proceeded to Cape Breton, embarked thirty Micmac
Indians, and steered for the St. John. Here they met two British
frigates and a provincial tender belonging to Massachusetts. A fight
ensued. The forces were very unequal. The "Newport," of twenty-four
guns, was dismasted and taken; but her companion frigate along with
the tender escaped in the fog. The French then anchored at the mouth
of the St. John, where Villebon and the priest Simon were waiting for
them, with fifty more Micmacs. Simon and the Indians went on board;
and they all sailed for Pentegoet, where Villieu, with twenty-five
soldiers, and Thury and Saint-Castin, with some three hundred
Abenakis, were ready to join them. After the usual feasting, these new
allies paddled for Pemaquid; the ships followed; and on the next day,
the fourteenth of August, they all reached their destination.

The fort of Pemaquid stood at the west side of the promontory of the
same name, on a rocky point at the mouth of Pemaquid River. It was a
quadrangle, with ramparts of rough stone, built at great pains and
cost, but exposed to artillery, and incapable of resisting heavy shot.
The government of Massachusetts, with its usual military fatuity, had
placed it in the keeping of an unfit commander, and permitted some of
the yeoman garrison to bring their wives and children to this
dangerous and important post.

Saint-Castin and his Indians landed at New Harbor, half a league from
the fort. Troops and cannon were sent ashore; and, at five o'clock in
the afternoon, Chubb was summoned to surrender. He replied that he
would fight, "even if the sea were covered with French ships and the
land with Indians." The firing then began; and the Indian marksmen,
favored by the nature of the ground, ensconced themselves near the
fort, well covered from its cannon. During the night, mortars and
heavy ships' guns were landed, and by great exertion were got into
position, the two priests working lustily with the rest. They opened
fire at three o'clock on the next day. Saint-Castin had just before
sent Chubb a letter, telling him that, if the garrison were obstinate,
they would get no quarter, and would be butchered by the Indians.
Close upon this message followed four or five bomb-shells. Chubb
succumbed immediately, sounded a parley, and gave up the fort, on
condition that he and his men should be protected from the Indians,
sent to Boston, and exchanged for French and Abenaki prisoners. They
all marched out without arms; and Iberville, true to his pledge, sent
them to an island in the bay, beyond the reach of his red allies.
Villieu took possession of the fort, where an Indian prisoner was
found in irons, half dead from long confinement. This so enraged his
countrymen that a massacre would infallibly have taken place but for
the precaution of Iberville. The cannon of Pemaquid were carried on
board the ships, and the small arms and ammunition given to the
Indians. Two days were spent in destroying the works, and then the
victors withdrew in triumph. Disgraceful as was the prompt surrender
of the fort, it may be doubted if, even with the best defence, it
could have held out many days; for it had no casemates, and its
occupants were defenceless against the explosion of shells. Chubb was
arrested for cowardice on his return, and remained some months in
prison. After his release, he returned to his family at Andover,
twenty miles from Boston; and here, in the year following, he and his
wife were killed by Indians, who seem to have pursued him to this
apparently safe asylum to take revenge for his treachery toward their
countrymen. [Footnote: Baudoin, _Journal d'un Voyage fait avec M.
d'Iberville_. Baudoin was an Acadian priest, who accompanied the
expedition, which he describes in detail. _Relation de ce qui s'est
passé, etc., 1695, 1696; Des Goutins au Ministre, 23 Sept., 1696_;
Hutchinson, _Hist. Mass._, II 89; Mather, _Magnalia_, II. 633. A
letter from Chubb, asking to be released from prison, is preserved in
the archives of Massachusetts. I have examined the site of the fort,
the remains of which are still distinct.]

The people of Massachusetts, compelled by a royal order to build and
maintain Pemaquid, had no love for it, and underrated its importance.
Having been accustomed to spend their money as they themselves saw
fit, they revolted at compulsion, though exercised for their good.
Pemaquid was nevertheless of the utmost value for the preservation of
their hold on Maine, and its conquest was a crowning triumph to the

The conquerors now projected a greater exploit. The Marquis de
Nesmond, with a powerful squadron of fifteen ships, including some of
the best in the royal navy, sailed for Newfoundland, with orders to
defeat an English squadron supposed to be there, and then to proceed
to the mouth of the Penobscot, where he was to be joined by the
Abenaki warriors and fifteen hundred troops from Canada. The whole
united force was then to fall upon Boston. The French had an exact
knowledge of the place. Meneval, when a prisoner there, lodged in the
house of John Nelson, had carefully examined it; and so also had the
Chevalier d'Aux; while La Motte-Cadillac had reconnoitred the town and
harbor before the war began. An accurate map of them was made for the
use of the expedition, and the plan of operations was arranged with
great care. Twelve hundred troops and Canadians were to land with
artillery at Dorchester, and march at once to force the barricade
across the neck of the peninsula on which the town stood. At the same
time, Saint-Castin was to land at Noddle's Island, with a troop of
Canadians and all the Indians; pass over in canoes to Charlestown;
and, after mastering it, cross to the north point of Boston, which
would thus be attacked at both ends. During these movements, two
hundred soldiers were to seize the battery on Castle Island, and then
land in front of the town near Long Wharf, under the guns of the
fleet. Boston had about seven thousand inhabitants, but, owing to the
seafaring habits of the people, many of its best men were generally
absent; and, in the belief of the French, its available force did not
much exceed eight hundred. "There are no soldiers in the place," say
the directions for attack, "at least there were none last September,
except the garrison from Pemaquid, who do not deserve the name." An
easy victory was expected. After Boston was taken, the land forces,
French and Indian, were to march on Salem, and thence northward to
Portsmouth, conquering as they went; while the ships followed along
the coast to lend aid, when necessary. All captured places were to be
completely destroyed after removing all valuable property. A portion
of this plunder was to be abandoned to the officers and men, in order
to encourage them, and the rest stowed in the ships for transportation
to France. [3]

Notice of the proposed expedition had reached Frontenac in the spring;
and he began at once to collect men, canoes, and supplies for the long
and arduous march to the rendezvous. He saw clearly the uncertainties
of the attempt; but, in spite of his seventy-seven years, he resolved
to command the land force in person. He was ready in June, and waited
only to hear from Nesmond. The summer passed; and it was not till
September that a ship reached Quebec with a letter from the marquis,
telling him that head winds had detained the fleet till only fifty
days' provision remained, and it was too late for action. The
enterprise had completely failed, and even at Newfoundland nothing was
accomplished. It proved a positive advantage to New England, since a
host of Indians, who would otherwise have been turned loose upon the
borders, were gathered by Saint-Castin at the Penobscot to wait for
the fleet, and kept there idle all summer. It is needless to dwell
farther on the war in Acadia. There were petty combats by land and
sea; Villieu was captured and carried to Boston; a band of New England
rustics made a futile attempt to dislodge Villebon from his fort at
Naxouat; while, throughout the contest, rivalry and jealousy rankled
among the French officials, who continually maligned each other in
tell-tale letters to the court. Their hope that the Abenakis would
force back the English boundary to the Piscataqua was never fulfilled.
At Kittery, at Wells, and even among the ashes of York, the stubborn
settlers held their ground, while war-parties prowled along the whole
frontier, from the Kennebec to the Connecticut. A single incident will
show the nature of the situation, and the qualities which it sometimes
called forth. Early in the spring that followed the capture of
Pemaquid, a band of Indians fell, after daybreak, on a number of
farm-houses near the village of Haverhill. One of them belonged to a
settler named Dustan, whose wife Hannah had borne a child a week
before, and lay in the house, nursed by Mary Neff, one of her
neighbors. Dustan had gone to his work in a neighboring field, taking
with him his seven children, of whom the youngest was two years old.
Hearing the noise of the attack, he told them to run to the nearest
fortified house, a mile or more distant, and, snatching up his gun,
threw himself on one of his horses and galloped towards his own house
to save his wife. It was too late: the Indians were already there. He
now thought only of saving his children; and, keeping behind them as
they ran, he fired on the pursuing savages, and held them at bay till
he and his flock reached a place of safety. Meanwhile, the house was
set on fire, and his wife and the nurse carried off. Her husband, no
doubt, had given her up as lost, when, weeks after, she reappeared,
accompanied by Mary Neff and a boy, and bringing ten Indian scalps.
Her story was to the following effect.

The Indians had killed the new-born child by dashing it against a
tree, after which the mother and the nurse were dragged into the
forest, where they found a number of friends and neighbors, their
fellows in misery. Some of these were presently tomahawked, and the
rest divided among their captors. Hannah Dustan and the nurse fell to
the share of a family consisting of two warriors, three squaws, and
seven children, who separated from the rest, and, hunting as they
went, moved northward towards an Abenaki village, two hundred and
fifty miles distant, probably that of the mission on the Chaudière.
Every morning, noon, and evening, they told their beads, and repeated
their prayers. An English boy, captured at Worcester, was also of the
party. After a while, the Indians began to amuse themselves by telling
the women that, when they reached the village, they would be stripped,
made to run the gauntlet, and severely beaten, according to custom.

Hannah Dustan now resolved on a desperate effort to escape, and Mary
Neff and the boy agreed to join in it. They were in the depths of the
forest, half way on their journey, and the Indians, who had no
distrust of them, were all asleep about their camp fire, when, late in
the night, the two women and the boy took each a hatchet, and crouched
silently by the bare heads of the unconscious savages. Then they all
struck at once, with blows so rapid and true that ten of the twelve
were killed before they were well awake. One old squaw sprang up
wounded, and ran screeching into the forest, followed by a small boy
whom they had purposely left unharmed. Hannah Dustan and her
companions watched by the corpses till daylight; then the Amazon
scalped them all, and the three made their way back to the
settlements, with the trophies of their exploit. [Footnote: This story
is told by Mather, who had it from the women themselves, and by Niles,
Hutchinson, and others. An entry in the contemporary journal of Rev.
John Pike fully confirms it. The facts were notorious at the time.
Hannah Dustan and her companions received a bounty of £50 for their
ten scalps; and the governor of Maryland, hearing of what they had
done, sent them a present.]

[1] "Les témoignages qu'on a rendu à Sa Majesté de l'affection et du
zêle du Sr. de Thury, missionaire chez les Canibas (_Abenakis_), pour
son service, et particulièrement dans l'engagement où il a mis les
Sauvages de recommencer la guerre contre les Anglois, m'oblige de vous
prier de luy faire une plus forte part sur les 1,500 livres de
gratification que Sa Majesté accorde pour les ecclésiastiques de
l'Acadie." _Le Ministre à l'Évesque de Québec_, 16 _Avril_, 1695.

"Je suis bien aise de me servir de cette occasion pour vous dire que
j'ay esté informé, non seulement de vostre zêle et de vostre
application pour vostre mission, et du progrès qu'elle fait pour
l'avancement de la religion avec les sauvages, mais encore de vos
soins pour les maintenir dans le service de Sa Majesté et pour les
encourager aux expeditions de guerre." _Le Ministre à Thury_, 28
_Avril_, 1697. The other letter to Thury, written two years before, is
of the same tenor.

[2] The famous Ouréhaoué, who had been for years under the influence
of the priests, and who, as Charlevoix says, died "un vrai Chrétien,"
being told on his death-bed how Christ was crucified by the Jews,
exclaimed with fervor: "Ah! why was not I there? I would have revenged
him: I would have had their scalps." La Potherie, IV. 91. Charlevoix,
after his fashion on such occasions, suppresses the revenge and the
scalping, and instead makes the dying Christian say, "I would have
prevented them from so treating my God."

The savage custom of forcing prisoners to run the gauntlet, and
sometimes beating them to death as they did so, was continued at two,
if not all, of the mission villages down to the end of the French
domination. General Stark of the Revolution, when a young man, was
subjected to this kind of torture at St. Francis, but saved himself by
snatching a club from one of the savages, and knocking the rest to the
right and left as he ran. The practice was common, and must have had
the consent of the priests of the mission.

At the Sulpitian mission of the Mountain of Montreal, unlike the rest,
the converts were taught to speak French and practise mechanical arts.
The absence of such teaching in other missions was the subject of
frequent complaint, not only from Frontenac, but from other officers.
La Motte-Cadillac writes bitterly on the subject, and contrasts the
conduct of the French priests with that of the English ministers, who
have taught many Indians to read and write, and reward them for
teaching others in turn, which they do, he says, with great success.
_Mémoire contenant une Description détaillée de l'Acadie, etc._, 1693.
In fact, Eliot and his co-workers took great pains in this respect.
There were at this time thirty Indian churches in New England,
according to the _Diary of President Stiles_, cited by Holmes.

[3] _Mémoire sur l'Entreprise de Boston, pour M. le Marquis de
Nesmond, Versailles, 21 Avril, 1697; Instruction à M. le Marquis de
Nesmond, même date; Le Roy à Frontenac, même date; Le Roy à Frontenac
et Champigny 27 Avril, 1697; Le Ministre à Nesmond, 28 Avril, 1697;
Ibid., 15 Juin, 1697; Frontenac au Ministre, 15 Oct., 1697; Carte de
Baston, par le Sr. Franquelin, 1697_. This is the map made for the use
of the expedition. A _fac-simile_ of it is before me. The conquest of
New York had originally formed part of the plan. _Lagny au Ministre,
20 Jan., 1695_. Even as it was, too much was attempted, and the scheme
was fatally complicated by the operations at Newfoundland. Four years
before, a projected attack on Quebec by a British fleet, under Admiral
Wheeler, had come to nought from analogous causes.

The French spared no pains to gain accurate information as to the
strength of the English settlements. Among other reports on this
subject there is a curious _Mémoire sur les Établissements anglois au
delà de Pemaquid, jusqu'a Baston_. It was made just after the capture
of Pemaquid, with a view to further operations. Saco is described as a
small fort a league above the mouth of the river Saco, with four
cannon, but fit only to resist Indians. At Wells, it says, all the
settlers have sought refuge in four _petits forts_, of which the
largest holds perhaps 20 men, besides women and children. At York, all
the people have gathered into one fort, where there are about 40 men.
At Portsmouth there is a fort, of slight account, and about a hundred
houses. This neighborhood, no doubt including Kittery, can furnish at
most about 300 men. At the Isles of Shoals there are some 280
fishermen, who are absent, except on Sundays. In the same manner,
estimates are made for every village and district as far as Boston.





No Canadian, under the French rule, stands in a more conspicuous or
more deserved eminence than Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville. In the
seventeenth century, most of those who acted a prominent part in the
colony were born in Old France; but Iberville was a true son of the
soil. He and his brothers, Longueuil, Serigny, Assigny, Maricourt,
Sainte-Hélène, the two Châteauguays, and the two Bienvilles, were, one
and all, children worthy of their father, Charles Le Moyne of
Montreal, and favorable types of that Canadian _noblesse_, to whose
adventurous hardihood half the continent bears witness. Iberville was
trained in the French navy, and was already among its most able
commanders. The capture of Pemaquid was, for him, but the beginning of
greater things; and, though the exploits that followed were outside
the main theatre of action, they were too remarkable to be passed in

The French had but one post of any consequence on the Island of
Newfoundland, the fort and village at Placentia Bay; while the English
fishermen had formed a line of settlements two or three hundred miles
along the eastern coast. Iberville had represented to the court the
necessity of checking their growth, and to that end a plan was
settled, in connection with the expedition against Pemaquid. The ships
of the king were to transport the men; while Iberville and others
associated with him were to pay them, and divide the plunder as their
compensation. The chronicles of the time show various similar bargains
between the great king and his subjects.

Pemaquid was no sooner destroyed, than Iberville sailed for
Newfoundland, with the eighty men he had taken at Quebec; and, on
arriving, he was joined by as many more, sent him from the same place.
He found Brouillan, governor of Placentia, with a squadron formed
largely of privateers from St. Malo, engaged in a vain attempt to
seize St. John, the chief post of the English. Brouillan was a man of
harsh, jealous, and impracticable temper; and it was with the utmost
difficulty that he and Iberville could act in concert. They came at
last to an agreement, made a combined attack on St. John, took it, and
burned it to the ground. Then followed a new dispute about the
division of the spoils. At length it was settled. Brouillan went back
to Placentia, and Iberville and his men were left to pursue their
conquests alone.

There were no British soldiers on the island. The settlers were rude
fishermen without commanders, and, according to the French accounts,
without religion or morals. In fact, they are described as "worse than
Indians." Iberville now had with him a hundred and twenty-five
soldiers and Canadians, besides a few Abenakis from Acadia. [Footnote:
The reinforcement sent him from Quebec consisted of fifty soldiers,
thirty Canadians, and three officers. _Frontenac au Ministre_, 28
_Oct_., 1696.] It was mid-winter when he began his march. For two
months he led his hardy band through frost and snow, from hamlet to
hamlet, along those forlorn and desolate coasts, attacking each in
turn and carrying havoc everywhere. Nothing could exceed the hardships
of the way, or the vigor with which they were met and conquered. The
chaplain Baudoin gives an example of them in his diary. "January 18th.
The roads are so bad that we can find only twelve men strong enough to
beat the path. Our snow-shoes break on the crust, and against the
rocks and fallen trees hidden under the snow, which catch and trip us;
but, for all that, we cannot help laughing to see now one, and now
another, fall headlong. The Sieur de Martigny fell into a river, and
left his gun and his sword there to save his life." A panic seized the
settlers, many of whom were without arms as well as without leaders.
They imagined the Canadians to be savages, who scalped and butchered
like the Iroquois. Their resistance was feeble and incoherent, and
Iberville carried all before him. Every hamlet was pillaged and
burned; and, according to the incredible report of the French writers,
two hundred persons were killed and seven hundred captured, though it
is admitted that most of the prisoners escaped. When spring opened,
all the English settlements were destroyed, except the post of
Bonavista and the Island of Carbonnière, a natural fortress in the
sea. Iberville returned to Placentia, to prepare for completing his
conquest, when his plans were broken by the arrival of his brother
Serigny, with orders to proceed at once against the English at
Hudson's Bay. [1]

It was the nineteenth of May, when Serigny appeared with five ships of
war, the "Pelican," the "Palmier," the "Wesp," the "Profond," and the
"Violent." The important trading-post of Fort Nelson, called Fort
Bourbon by the French, was the destined object of attack. Iberville
and Serigny had captured it three years before, but the English had
retaken it during the past summer, and, as it commanded the fur-trade
of a vast interior region, a strong effort was now to be made for its
recovery. Iberville took command of the "Pelican," and his brother of
the "Palmier." They sailed from Placentia early in July, followed by
two other ships of the squadron, and a vessel carrying stores. Before
the end of the month they entered the bay, where they were soon caught
among masses of floating ice. The store-ship was crushed and lost, and
the rest were in extreme danger. The "Pelican" at last extricated
herself, and sailed into the open sea; but her three consorts were
nowhere to be seen. Iberville steered for Fort Nelson, which was
several hundred miles distant, on the western shore of this dismal
inland sea. He had nearly reached it, when three sail hove in sight;
and he did not doubt that they were his missing ships. They proved,
however, to be English armed merchantmen: the "Hampshire" of fifty-two
guns, and the "Daring" and the "Hudson's Bay" of thirty-six and
thirty-two. The "Pelican" carried but forty-four, and she was alone. A
desperate battle followed, and from half past nine to one o'clock the
cannonade was incessant. Iberville kept the advantage of the wind,
and, coming at length to close quarters with the "Hampshire," gave her
repeated broadsides between wind and water, with such effect that she
sank with all on board. He next closed with the "Hudson's Bay," which
soon struck her flag; while the "Daring" made sail, and escaped. The
"Pelican" was badly damaged in hull, masts, and rigging; and the
increasing fury of a gale from the east made her position more
critical every hour. She anchored, to escape being driven ashore; but
the cables parted, and she was stranded about two leagues from the
fort. Here, racked by the waves and the tide, she split amidships; but
most of the crew reached land with their weapons and ammunition. The
northern winter had already begun, and the snow lay a foot deep in the
forest. Some of them died from cold and exhaustion, and the rest built
huts and kindled fires to warm and dry themselves. Food was so scarce
that their only hope of escape from famishing seemed to lie in a
desperate effort to carry the fort by storm, but now fortune
interposed. The three ships they had left behind in the ice arrived
with all the needed succors. Men, cannon, and mortars were sent
ashore, and the attack began. Fort Nelson was a palisade work,
garrisoned by traders and other civilians in the employ of the English
fur company, and commanded by one of its agents, named Bailey. Though
it had a considerable number of small cannon, it was incapable of
defence against any thing but musketry; and the French bombs soon made
it untenable. After being three times summoned, Bailey lowered his
flag, though not till he had obtained honorable terms; and he and his
men marched out with arms and baggage, drums beating and colors
flying. Iberville had triumphed over the storms, the icebergs, and the
English. The north had seen his prowess, and another fame awaited him
in the regions of the sun; for he became the father of Louisiana, and
his brother Bienville founded New Orleans. [Footnote: On the capture
of Fort Nelson, _Iberville au Ministre, 8 Nov., 1697_; Jérémie,
_Relation de la Baye de Hudson_; La Potherie, I. 86-109. All these
writers were present at the attack.]

These northern conflicts were but episodes. In Hudson's Bay,
Newfoundland, and Acadia, the issues of the war were unimportant,
compared with the momentous question whether France or England should
be mistress of the west; that is to say, of the whole interior of the
continent. There was a strange contrast in the attitude of the rival
colonies towards this supreme prize: the one was inert, and seemingly
indifferent; the other, intensely active. The reason is obvious
enough. The English colonies were separate, jealous of the crown and
of each other, and incapable as yet of acting in concert. Living by
agriculture and trade, they could prosper within limited areas, and
had no present need of spreading beyond the Alleghanies. Each of them
was an aggregate of persons, busied with their own affairs, and giving
little heed to matters which did not immediately concern them. Their
rulers, whether chosen by themselves or appointed in England, could
not compel them to become the instruments of enterprises in which the
sacrifice was present, and the advantage remote. The neglect in which
the English court left them, though wholesome in most respects, made
them unfit for aggressive action; for they had neither troops,
commanders, political union, military organization, nor military
habits. In communities so busy, and governments so popular, much could
not be done, in war, till the people were roused to the necessity of
doing it; and that awakening was still far distant. Even New York, the
only exposed colony, except Massachusetts and New Hampshire, regarded
the war merely as a nuisance to be held at arm's length. [Footnote:
See note at the end of the chapter.]

In Canada, all was different. Living by the fur trade, she needed free
range and indefinite space. Her geographical position determined the
nature of her pursuits; and her pursuits developed the roving and
adventurous character of her people, who, living under a military
rule, could be directed at will to such ends as their rulers saw fit.
The grand French scheme of territorial extension was not born at
court, but sprang from Canadian soil, and was developed by the chiefs
of the colony, who, being on the ground, saw the possibilities and
requirements of the situation, and generally had a personal interest
in realizing them. The rival colonies had two different laws of
growth. The one increased by slow extension, rooting firmly as it
spread; the other shot offshoots, with few or no roots, far out into
the wilderness. It was the nature of French colonization to seize upon
detached strategic points, and hold them by the bayonet, forming no
agricultural basis, but attracting the Indians by trade, and holding
them by conversion. A musket, a rosary, and a pack of beaver skins may
serve to represent it, and in fact it consisted of little else.

Whence came the numerical weakness of New France, and the real though
latent strength of her rivals? Because, it is answered, the French
were not an emigrating people; but, at the end of the seventeenth
century, this was only half true. The French people were divided into
two parts, one eager to emigrate, and the other reluctant. The one
consisted of the persecuted Huguenots, the other of the favored
Catholics. The government chose to construct its colonies, not of
those who wished to go, but of those who wished to stay at home. From
the hour when the edict of Nantes was revoked, hundreds of thousands
of Frenchmen would have hailed as a boon the permission to transport
themselves, their families, and their property to the New World. The
permission was fiercely refused, and the persecuted sect was denied
even a refuge in the wilderness. Had it been granted them, the valleys
of the west would have swarmed with a laborious and virtuous
population, trained in adversity, and possessing the essential
qualities of self-government. Another France would have grown beyond
the Alleghanies, strong with the same kind of strength that made the
future greatness of the British colonies. British America was an
asylum for the oppressed and the suffering of all creeds and nations,
and population poured into her by the force of a natural tendency.
France, like England, might have been great in two hemispheres, if she
had placed herself in accord with this tendency, instead of opposing
it; but despotism was consistent with itself, and a mighty opportunity
was for ever lost.

As soon could the Ethiopian change his skin as the priest-ridden king
change his fatal policy of exclusion. Canada must be bound to the
papacy, even if it blasted her. The contest for the west must be waged
by the means which Bourbon policy ordained, and which, it must be
admitted, had some great advantages of their own, when controlled by a
man like Frontenac. The result hung, for the present, on the relations
of the French with the Iroquois and the tribes of the lakes, the
Illinois, and the valley of the Ohio, but, above all, on their
relations with the Iroquois; for, could they be conquered or won over,
it would be easy to deal with the rest. Frontenac was meditating a
grand effort to inflict such castigation as would bring them to
reason, when one of their chiefs, named Tareha, came to Quebec with
overtures of peace. The Iroquois had lost many of their best warriors.
The arrival of troops from France had discouraged them; the war had
interrupted their hunting; and, having no furs to barter with the
English, they were in want of arms, ammunition, and all the
necessaries of life. Moreover, Father Milet, nominally a prisoner
among them, but really an adopted chief, had used all his influence to
bring about a peace; and the mission of Tareha was the result.
Frontenac received him kindly. "My Iroquois children have been drunk;
but I will give them an opportunity to repent. Let each of your five
nations send me two deputies, and I will listen to what they have to
say." They would not come, but sent him instead an invitation to meet
them and their friends, the English, in a general council at Albany; a
proposal which he rejected with contempt. Then they sent another
deputation, partly to him and partly to their Christian countrymen of
the Saut and the Mountain, inviting all alike to come and treat with
them at Onondaga. Frontenac, adopting the Indian fashion, kicked away
their wampum belts, rebuked them for tampering with the mission
Indians, and told them that they were rebels, bribed by the English;
adding that, if a suitable deputation should be sent to Quebec to
treat squarely of peace, he still would listen, but that, if they came
back with any more such proposals as they had just made, they should
be roasted alive. A few weeks later, the deputation appeared. It
consisted of two chiefs of each nation, headed by the renowned orator
Decanisora, or, as the French wrote the name, Tegannisorens. The
council was held in the hall of the supreme council at Quebec. The
dignitaries of the colony were present, with priests, Jesuits,
Récollets, officers, and the Christian chiefs of the Saut and the
Mountain. The appearance of the ambassadors bespoke their destitute
plight; for they were all dressed in shabby deerskins and old
blankets, except Decanisora, who was attired in a scarlet coat laced
with gold, given him by the governor of New York. Colden, who knew him
in his old age, describes him as a tall, well-formed man, with a face
not unlike the busts of Cicero. "He spoke," says the French reporter,
"with as perfect a grace as is vouchsafed to an uncivilized people;"
buried the hatchet, covered the blood that had been spilled, opened
the roads, and cleared the clouds from the sun. In other words, he
offered peace; but he demanded at the same time that it should include
the English. Frontenac replied, in substance: "My children are right
to come submissive and repentant. I am ready to forgive the past, and
hang up the hatchet; but the peace must include all my other children,
far and near. Shut your ears to English poison. The war with the
English has nothing to do with you, and only the great kings across
the sea have power to stop it. You must give up all your prisoners,
both French and Indian, without one exception. I will then return
mine, and make peace with you, but not before." He then entertained
them at his own table, gave them a feast described as "magnificent,"
and bestowed gifts so liberally, that the tattered ambassadors went
home in embroidered coats, laced shirts, and plumed hats. They were
pledged to return with the prisoners before the end of the season, and
they left two hostages as security. [Footnote: On these negotiations,
and their antecedents, Callières, _Relation de ce qui s'est passé de
plus remarquable en Canada depuis Sept., 1692, jusqu'au Départ des
Vaisseaux en 1693_; La Motte-Cadillac, _Mémoire des Negociations avec
les Iroquois, 1694; Callières au Ministre, 19 Oct., 1694_; La
Potherie, III. 200-220; Colden, _Five Nations_, chap. x.;_ N. Y. Col.
Docs._, IV. 85.]

Meanwhile, the authorities of New York tried to prevent the threatened
peace. First, Major Peter Schuyler convoked the chiefs at Albany, and
told them that, if they went to ask peace in Canada, they would be
slaves for ever. The Iroquois declared that they loved the English,
but they repelled every attempt to control their action. Then
Fletcher, the governor, called a general council at the same place,
and told them that they should not hold councils with the French, or
that, if they did so, they should hold them at Albany in presence of
the English. Again they asserted their rights as an independent
people. "Corlaer," said their speaker, "has held councils with our
enemies, and why should not we hold councils with his?" Yet they were
strong in assurances of friendship, and declared themselves "one head,
one heart, one blood, and one soul, with the English." Their speaker
continued: "Our only reason for sending deputies to the French is that
we are brought so low, and none of our neighbors help us, but leave us
to bear all the burden of the war. Our brothers of New England,
Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, all of their own accord took
hold of the covenant chain, and called themselves our allies; but they
have done nothing to help us, and we cannot fight the French alone,
because they are always receiving soldiers from beyond the Great Lake.
Speak from your heart, brother: will you and your neighbors join with
us, and make strong war against the French? If you will, we will break
off all treaties, and fight them as hotly as ever; but, if you will
not help us, we must make peace." Nothing could be more just than
these reproaches; and, if the English governor had answered by a
vigorous attack on the French forts south of the St. Lawrence, the
Iroquois warriors would have raised the hatchet again with one accord.
But Fletcher was busy with other matters; and he had besides no force
at his disposal but four companies, the only British regulars on the
continent, defective in numbers, ill-appointed, and mutinous.
[Footnote: Fletcher is, however, charged with gross misconduct in
regard to the four companies, which he is said to have kept at about
half their complement, in order to keep the balance of their pay for
himself.] Therefore he answered not with acts, but with words. The
negotiation with the French went on, and Fletcher called another
council. It left him in a worse position than before. The Iroquois
again asked for help: he could not promise it, but was forced to yield
the point, and tell them that he consented to their making peace with
Onontio. It is certain that they wanted peace, but equally certain
that they did not want it to be lasting, and sought nothing more than
a breathing time to regain their strength. Even now some of them were
for continuing the war; and at the great council at Onondaga, where
the matter was debated, the Onondagas, Oneidas, and Mohawks spurned
the French proposals, and refused to give up their prisoners. The
Cayugas and some of the Senecas were of another mind, and agreed to a
partial compliance with Frontenac's demands. The rest seem to have
stood passive in the hope of gaining time. They were disappointed. In
vain the Seneca and Cayuga deputies buried the hatchet at Montreal,
and promised that the other nations would soon do likewise. Frontenac
was not to be deceived. He would accept nothing but the frank
fulfilment of his conditions, refused the proffered peace, and told
his Indian allies to wage war to the knife. There was a dog-feast and
a war-dance, and the strife began anew.

In all these conferences, the Iroquois had stood by their English
allies, with a fidelity not too well merited. But, though they were
loyal towards the English, they had acted with duplicity towards the
French, and, while treating of peace with them, had attacked some of
their Indian allies, and intrigued with others. They pursued with more
persistency than ever the policy they had adopted in the time of La
Barre, that is, to persuade or frighten the tribes of the west to
abandon the French, join hands with them and the English, and send
their furs to Albany instead of Montreal; for the sagacious
confederates knew well that, if the trade were turned into this new
channel, their local position would enable them to control it. The
scheme was good; but with whatever consistency their chiefs and elders
might pursue it, the wayward ferocity of their young warriors crossed
it incessantly, and murders alternated with intrigues. On the other
hand, the western tribes, who since the war had been but ill supplied
with French goods and French brandy, knew that they could have English
goods and English rum in great abundance, and at far less cost; and
thus, in spite of hate and fear, the intrigue went on. Michillimackinac
was the focus of it, but it pervaded all the west. The position of
Frontenac was one of great difficulty, and the more so that the
intestine quarrels of his allies excessively complicated the mazes of
forest diplomacy. This heterogeneous multitude, scattered in tribes
and groups of tribes over two thousand miles of wilderness, was like a
vast menagerie of wild animals; and the lynx bristled at the wolf, and
the panther grinned fury at the bear, in spite of all his efforts to
form them into a happy family under his paternal rule.

La Motte-Cadillac commanded at Michillimackinac, Courtemanche was
stationed at Fort Miamis, and Tonty and La Forêt at the fortified rock
of St. Louis on the Illinois; while Nicolas Perrot roamed among the
tribes of the Mississippi, striving at the risk of his life to keep
them at peace with each other, and in alliance with the French. Yet a
plot presently came to light, by which the Foxes, Mascontins, and
Kickapoos were to join hands, renounce the French, and cast their
fortunes with the Iroquois and the English. There was still more
anxiety for the tribes of Michillimackinac, because the results of
their defection would be more immediate. This important post had at
the time an Indian population of six or seven thousand souls, a Jesuit
mission, a fort with two hundred soldiers, and a village of about
sixty houses, occupied by traders and _coureurs de bois_. The Indians
of the place were in relations more or less close with all the tribes
of the lakes. The Huron village was divided between two rival chiefs:
the Baron, who was deep in Iroquois and English intrigue; and the Rat,
who, though once the worst enemy of the French, now stood their
friend. The Ottawas and other Algonquins of the adjacent villages were
savages of a lower grade, tossed continually between hatred of the
Iroquois, distrust of the French, and love of English goods and
English rum. [Footnote: "Si les Outaouacs (_Ottawas_) et Hurons
concluent la paix avec l'Iroquois sans nostre participation, et
donnent chez eux l'entrée à l'Anglois pour le commerce, la Colonie est
entièrement ruinée, puisque c'est le seul (_moyen_) par lequel ce
pays-cy puisse subsister, et l'on peut asseurer que si les sauvages
goustent une fois du commerce de l'Anglois, ils rompront pour toujours
avec les François, parcequ'ils ne peuvent donner les marchandises qu'a
un prix beaucoup plus hault." _Frontenac au Ministre, 25 Oct., 1696_.]

La Motte-Cadillac found that the Hurons of the Baron's band were
receiving messengers and peace belts from New York and her red allies,
that the English had promised to build a trading house on Lake Erie,
and that the Iroquois had invited the lake tribes to a grand
convention at Detroit. These belts and messages were sent, in the
Indian expression, "underground," that is, secretly; and the envoys
who brought them came in the disguise of prisoners taken by the
Hurons. On one occasion, seven Iroquois were brought in; and some of
the French, suspecting them to be agents of the negotiation, stabbed
two of them as they landed. There was a great tumult. The Hurons took
arms to defend the remaining five; but at length suffered themselves
to be appeased, and even gave one of the Iroquois, a chief, into the
hands of the French, who, says La Potherie, determined to "make an
example of him." They invited the Ottawas to "drink the broth of an
Iroquois." The wretch was made fast to a stake, and a Frenchman began
the torture by burning him with a red-hot gun-barrel. The mob of
savages was soon wrought up to the required pitch of ferocity; and,
after atrociously tormenting him, they cut him to pieces, and ate him.
[Footnote: La Potherie, II. 298.] It was clear that the more Iroquois
the allies of France could be persuaded to burn, the less would be the
danger that they would make peace with the confederacy. On another
occasion, four were tortured at once; and La Motte-Cadillac writes,
"If any more prisoners are brought me, I promise you that their fate
will be no sweeter." [Footnote: _La Motte-Cadillac à -----, 3 Aug.,
1695_. A translation of this letter will be found in Sheldon, _Early
History of Michigan_.]

The same cruel measures were practised when the Ottawas came to trade
at Montreal. Frontenac once invited a band of them to "roast an
Iroquois," newly caught by the soldiers; but as they had hamstrung
him, to prevent his escape, he bled to death before the torture began.
[Footnote: _Relation de ce qui s'est passé de plus remarquable entre
les Francois et les Iroquois durant la présente année, 1695_. There is
a translation in _N. Y. Col. Docs._, IX. Compare La Potherie, who
misplaces the incident as to date.] In the next spring, the revolting
tragedy of Michillimackinac was repeated at Montreal, where four more
Iroquois were burned by the soldiers, inhabitants, and Indian allies.
"It was the mission of Canada," says a Canadian writer, "to propagate
Christianity and civilization." [Footnote: This last execution was an
act of reprisal: "J'abandonnay les 4 prisonniers aux soldats,
habitants, et sauvages, qui les bruslerent par représailles de deux du
Sault que cette nation avoit traitté de la mesme maniere." _Callières
au Ministre, 20 Oct., 1696_.]

Every effort was vain. La Motte-Cadillac wrote that matters grew worse
and worse, and that the Ottawas had been made to believe that the
French neither would nor could protect them, but meant to leave them,
to their fate. They thought that they had no hope except in peace with
the Iroquois, and had actually gone to meet them at an appointed
rendezvous. One course alone was now left to Frontenac, and this was
to strike the Iroquois with a blow heavy enough to humble them, and
teach the wavering hordes of the west that he was, in truth, their
father and their defender. Nobody knew so well as he the difficulties
of the attempt; and, deceived perhaps by his own energy, he feared
that, in his absence on a distant expedition, the governor of New York
would attack Montreal. Therefore, he had begged for more troops. About
three hundred were sent him, and with these he was forced to content

He had waited, also, for another reason. In his belief, the
re-establishment of Fort Frontenac, abandoned in a panic by Denonville,
was necessary to the success of a campaign against the Iroquois. A
party in the colony vehemently opposed the measure, on the ground that
the fort would be used by the friends of Frontenac for purposes of
trade. It was, nevertheless, very important, if not essential, for
holding the Iroquois in check. They themselves felt it to be so; and,
when they heard that the French intended to occupy it again, they
appealed to the governor of New York, who told them that, if the plan
were carried into effect, he would march to their aid with all the
power of his government. He did not, and perhaps could not, keep his
word. [Footnote: Colden, 178. Fletcher could get no men from his own
or neighboring governments. See _note_, at the end of the chapter.]

In the question of Fort Frontenac, as in every thing else, the
opposition to the governor, always busy and vehement, found its chief
representative in the intendant, who told the minister that the policy
of Frontenac was all wrong; that the public good was not its object;
that he disobeyed or evaded the orders of the king; and that he had
suffered the Iroquois to delude him by false overtures of peace. The
representations of the intendant and his faction had such effect, that
Ponchartrain wrote to the governor that the plan of re-establishing
Fort Frontenac "must absolutely be abandoned." Frontenac, bent on
accomplishing his purpose, and doubly so because his enemies opposed
it, had anticipated the orders of the minister, and sent seven hundred
men to Lake Ontario to repair the fort. The day after they left
Montreal, the letter of Ponchartrain arrived. The intendant demanded
their recall. Frontenac refused. The fort was repaired, garrisoned,
and victualled for a year.

A successful campaign was now doubly necessary to the governor, for by
this alone could he hope to avert the consequences of his audacity. He
waited no longer, but mustered troops, militia, and Indians, and
marched to attack the Iroquois. [Footnote: The above is drawn from the
correspondence of Frontenac, Champigny, La Motte-Cadillac, and
Callières, on one hand, and the king and the minister on the other.
The letters are too numerous to specify. Also, from the official
_Relation de ce qui s'est passé de plus remarquable en Canada_, 1694,
1695, and _Ibid., 1695, 1696; Mémoire soumis au Ministre de ce qui
résulte des Avis reçus du Canada en 1695_; Champigny, _Mémoire
concernant le Fort de Cataracouy_; La Potherie, II. 284-302, IV. 1-80;
Colden, chaps. x., xi.]

subjects enough in those parts of America to drive out the French from
Canada; but they are so _crumbled into little governments_, and so
disunited, that they have hitherto afforded little assistance to each
other, and now seem in a much worse disposition to do it for the
future." This is the complaint of the Lords of Trade. Governor
Fletcher writes bitterly: "Here every little government sets up for
despotic power, and allows no appeal to the Crown, but, by a little
juggling, defeats all commands and injunctions from the King."
Fletcher's complaint was not unprovoked. The Queen had named him
commander-in-chief, during the war, of the militia of several of the
colonies, and empowered him to call on them for contingents of men,
not above 350 from Massachusetts, 250 from Virginia, 160 from
Maryland, 120 from Connecticut, 48 from Rhode Island, and 80 from
Pennsylvania. This measure excited the jealousy of the colonies, and
several of them remonstrated on constitutional grounds; but the
attorney-general, to whom the question was referred, reported that the
crown had power, under certain limitations, to appoint a
commander-in-chief. Fletcher, therefore, in his character as such,
called for a portion of the men; but scarcely one could he get. He was
met by excuses and evasions, which, especially in the case of
Connecticut, were of a most vexatious character. At last, that colony,
tired by his importunities, condescended to furnish him with
twenty-five men. With the others, he was less fortunate, though
Virginia and Maryland compounded with a sum of money. Each colony
claimed the control of its own militia, and was anxious to avoid the
establishment of any precedent which might deprive it of the right.
Even in the military management of each separate colony, there was
scarcely less difficulty. A requisition for troops from a royal
governor was always regarded with jealousy, and the provincial
assemblies were slow to grant money for their support. In 1692, when
Fletcher came to New York, the assembly gave him 300 men, for a year;
in 1693, they gave him an equal number; in 1694, they allowed him but
170, he being accused, apparently with truth, of not having made good
use of the former levies. He afterwards asked that the force at his
disposal should be increased to 500 men, to guard the frontier; and
the request was not granted. In 1697 he was recalled; and the Earl of
Bellomont was commissioned governor of New York, Massachusetts, and
New Hampshire, and captain-general, during the war, of all the forces
of those colonies, as well as of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New
Jersey. The close of the war quickly ended this military authority;
but there is no reason to believe that, had it continued, the earl's
requisitions for men, in his character of captain-general, would have
had more success than those of Fletcher. The whole affair is a
striking illustration of the original isolation of communities, which
afterwards became welded into a nation. It involved a military
paralysis almost complete. Sixty years later, under the sense of a
great danger, the British colonies were ready enough to receive a
commander-in-chief, and answer his requisitions.

A great number of documents bearing upon the above subject will be
found in the _New York Colonial Documents_, IV.

[1] On the Newfoundland expedition, the best authority is the long
diary of the chaplain Baudoin, _Journal du Voyage que j'ai fait avec
M. d'Iberville_; also, _Mémoire sur l'Entreprise de Terreneuve_, 1696.
Compare La Potherie, I. 24-52. A deposition of one Phillips, one
Roberts, and several others, preserved in the Public Record Office of
London, and quoted by Brown in his _History of Cape Breton_, makes the
French force much greater than the statements of the French writers.
The deposition also says that at the attack of St. John's "the French
took one William Brew, an inhabitant, a prisoner, and cut all round
his scalp, and then, by strength of hands, stript his skin from the
forehead to the crown, and so sent him into the fortifications,
assuring the inhabitants that they would serve them all in like manner
if they did not surrender."

St. John's was soon after reoccupied by the English.

Baudoin was one of those Acadian priests who are praised for services
"en empeschant les sauvages de faire la paix avec les Anglois, ayant
mesme esté en guerre avec eux." _Champigny au Ministre, 24 Oct.,





On the fourth of July, Frontenac left Montreal, at the head of about
twenty-two hundred men. On the nineteenth he reached Fort Frontenac,
and on the twenty-sixth he crossed to the southern shore of Lake
Ontario. A swarm of Indian canoes led the way; next followed two
battalions of regulars, in bateaux, commanded by Callières; then more
bateaux, laden with cannon, mortars, and rockets; then Frontenac
himself, surrounded by the canoes of his staff and his guard; then
eight hundred Canadians, under Ramesay; while more regulars and more
Indians, all commanded by Vaudreuil, brought up the rear. In two days
they reached the mouth of the Oswego; strong scouting-parties were
sent out to scour the forests in front; while the expedition slowly
and painfully worked its way up the stream. Most of the troops and
Canadians marched through the matted woods along the banks; while the
bateaux and canoes were pushed, rowed, paddled, or dragged forward
against the current. On the evening of the thirtieth, they reached the
falls, where the river plunged over ledges of rock which completely
stopped the way. The work of "carrying" was begun at once. The Indians
and Canadians carried the canoes to the navigable water above, and
gangs of men dragged the bateaux up the portage-path on rollers. Night
soon came, and the work was continued till ten o'clock by torchlight.
Frontenac would have passed on foot like the rest, but the Indians
would not have it so. They lifted him in his canoe upon their
shoulders, and bore him in triumph, singing and yelling, through the
forest and along the margin of the rapids, the blaze of the torches
lighting the strange procession, where plumes of officers and uniforms
of the governor's guard mingled with the feathers and scalp-locks of
naked savages.

When the falls were passed, the troops pushed on as before along the
narrow stream, and through the tangled labyrinths on either side;
till, on the first of August, they reached Lake Onondaga, and, with
sails set, the whole flotilla glided before the wind, and landed the
motley army on a rising ground half a league from the salt springs of
Salina. The next day was spent in building a fort to protect the
canoes, bateaux, and stores; and, as evening closed, a ruddy glow
above the southern forest told them that the town of Onondaga was on

The Marquis de Crisasy was left, with a detachment, to hold the fort;
and, at sunrise on the fourth, the army moved forward in order of
battle. It was formed in two lines, regulars on the right and left,
and Canadians in the centre. Callières commanded the first line, and
Vaudreuil the second. Frontenac was between them, surrounded by his
staff officers and his guard, and followed by the artillery, which
relays of Canadians dragged and lifted forward with inconceivable
labor. The governor, enfeebled by age, was carried in an arm-chair;
while Callières, disabled by gout, was mounted on a horse, brought for
the purpose in one of the bateaux. To Subercase fell the hard task of
directing the march among the dense columns of the primeval forest, by
hill and hollow, over rocks and fallen trees, through swamps, brooks,
and gullies, among thickets, brambles, and vines. It was but eight or
nine miles to Onondaga; but they were all day in reaching it, and
evening was near when they emerged from the shadows of the forest into
the broad light of the Indian clearing. The maize-fields stretched
before them for miles, and in the midst lay the charred and smoking
ruins of the Iroquois capital. Not an enemy was to be seen, but they
found the dead bodies of two murdered French prisoners. Scouts were
sent out, guards were set, and the disappointed troops encamped on the

Onondaga, formerly an open town, had been fortified by the English,
who had enclosed it with a double range of strong palisades, forming a
rectangle, flanked by bastions at the four corners, and surrounded by
an outer fence of tall poles. The place was not defensible against
cannon and mortars; and the four hundred warriors belonging to it had
been but slightly reinforced from the other tribes of the confederacy,
each of which feared that the French attack might be directed against
itself. On the approach of an enemy of five times their number, they
had burned their town, and retreated southward into distant forests.

The troops were busied for two days in hacking down the maize, digging
up the _caches_, or hidden stores of food, and destroying their
contents. The neighboring tribe of the Oneidas sent a messenger to beg
peace. Frontenac replied that he would grant it, on condition that
they all should migrate to Canada, and settle there; and Vaudreuil,
with seven hundred men, was sent to enforce the demand. Meanwhile, a
few Onondaga stragglers had been found; and among them, hidden in a
hollow tree, a withered warrior, eighty years old, and nearly blind.
Frontenac would have spared him; but the Indian allies, Christians
from the mission villages, were so eager to burn him that it was
thought inexpedient to refuse them. They tied him to the stake, and
tried to shake his constancy by every torture that fire could inflict;
but not a cry nor a murmur escaped him. He defied them to do their
worst, till, enraged at his taunts, one of them gave him a mortal
stab. "I thank you," said the old Stoic, with his last breath; "but
you ought to have finished as you began, and killed me by fire. Learn
from me, you dogs of Frenchmen, how to endure pain; and you, dogs of
dogs, their Indian allies, think what you will do when you are burned
like me." [1] Vaudreuil and his detachment returned within three days,
after destroying Oneida, with all the growing corn, and seizing a
number of chiefs as hostages for the fulfilment of the demands of
Frontenac. There was some thought of marching on Cayuga, but the
governor judged it to be inexpedient; and, as it would be useless to
chase the fugitive Onondagas, nothing remained but to return home. [2]
While Frontenac was on his march, Governor Fletcher had heard of his
approach, and called the council at New York to consider what should
be done. They resolved that "it will be very grievous to take the
people from their labour; and there is likewise no money to answer the
charge thereof." Money was, however, advanced by Colonel Cortlandt and
others; and the governor wrote to Connecticut and New Jersey for their
contingents of men; but they thought the matter no concern of theirs,
and did not respond. Fletcher went to Albany with the few men he could
gather at the moment, and heard on his arrival that the French were
gone. Then he convoked the chiefs, condoled with them, and made them
presents. Corn was sent to the Onondagas and Oneidas to support them
through the winter, and prevent the famine which the French hoped
would prove their destruction.

What Frontenac feared had come to pass. The enemy had saved themselves
by flight; and his expedition, like that of Denonville, was but half
successful. He took care, however, to announce it to the king as a

"Sire, the benedictions which Heaven has ever showered upon your
Majesty's arms have extended even to this New World; whereof we have
had visible proof in the expedition I have just made against the
Onondagas, the principal nation of the Iroquois. I had long projected
this enterprise, but the difficulties and risks which attended it made
me regard it as imprudent; and I should never have resolved to
undertake it, if I had not last year established an _entrepôt (Fort
Frontenac_) which made my communications more easy, and if I had not
known, beyond all doubt, that this was absolutely the only means to
prevent our allies from making peace with the Iroquois, and
introducing the English into their country, by which the colony would
infallibly be ruined. Nevertheless, by unexpected good fortune, the
Onondagas, who pass for masters of the other Iroquois, and the terror
of all the Indians of this country, fell into a sort of bewilderment,
which could only have come from on High; and were so terrified to see
me march against them in person, and cover their lakes and rivers with
nearly four hundred sail, that, without availing themselves of passes
where a hundred men might easily hold four thousand in check, they did
not dare to lay a single ambuscade, but, after waiting till I was five
leagues from their fort, they set it on fire with all their dwellings,
and fled, with their families, twenty leagues into the depths of the
forest. It could have been wished, to make the affair more brilliant,
that they had tried to hold their fort against us, for we were
prepared to force it and kill a great many of them; but their ruin is
not the less sure, because the famine, to which they are reduced, will
destroy more than we could have killed by sword and gun.

"All the officers and men have done their duty admirably; and
especially M. de Callières, who has been a great help to me. I know
not if your Majesty will think that I have tried to do mine, and will
hold me worthy of some mark of honor that may enable me to pass the
short remainder of my life in some little distinction; but, whether
this be so or not, I most humbly pray your Majesty to believe that I
will sacrifice the rest of my days to your Majesty's service with the
same ardor I have always felt." [Footnote: _Frontenac au Roy, 25 Oct.,

The king highly commended him, and sent him the cross of the Military
Order of St. Louis. Callières, who had deserved it less, had received
it several years before; but he had not found or provoked so many
defamers. Frontenac complained to the minister that his services had
been slightly and tardily requited. This was true, and it was due
largely to the complaints excited by his own perversity and violence.
These complaints still continued; but the fault was not all on one
side, and Frontenac himself had often just reason to retort them. He
wrote to Ponchartrain: "If you will not be so good as to look closely
into the true state of things here, I shall always be exposed to
detraction, and forced to make new apologies, which is very hard for a
person so full of zeal and uprightness as I am. My secretary, who is
going to France, will tell you all the ugly intrigues used to defeat
my plans for the service of the king, and the growth of the colony. I
have long tried to combat these artifices, but I confess that I no
longer feel strength to resist them, and must succumb at last, if you
will not have the goodness to give me strong support." [Footnote:
_Frontenac au Ministre, 25 Oct., 1696._]

He still continued to provoke the detraction which he deprecated, till
he drew, at last, a sharp remonstrance from the minister. "The dispute
you have had with M. de Champigny is without cause, and I confess I
cannot comprehend how you could have acted as you have done. If you do
things of this sort, you must expect disagreeable consequences, which
all the desire I have to oblige you cannot prevent. It is deplorable,
both for you and for me, that, instead of using my good-will to gain
favors from his Majesty, you compel me to make excuses for a violence
which answers no purpose, and in which you indulge wantonly, nobody
can tell why." [Footnote: _Le Ministre à Frontenac, 21 Mai, 1698_.]

Most of these quarrels, however trivial in themselves, had a solid
foundation, and were closely connected with the great question of the
control of the west. As to the measures to be taken, two parties
divided the colony; one consisting of the governor and his friends,
and the other of the intendant, the Jesuits, and such of the merchants
as were not in favor with Frontenac. His policy was to protect the
Indian allies at all risks, to repel by force, if necessary, every
attempt of the English to encroach on the territory in dispute, and to
occupy it by forts which should be at once posts of war and commerce
and places of rendezvous for traders and _voyageurs_. Champigny and
his party denounced this system; urged that the forest posts should be
abandoned, that both garrisons and traders should be recalled, that
the French should not go to the Indians, but that the Indians should
come to the French, that the fur trade of the interior should be
carried on at Montreal, and that no Frenchman should be allowed to
leave the settled limits of the colony, except the Jesuits and persons
in their service, who, as Champigny insisted, would be able to keep
the Indians in the French interest without the help of soldiers.

Strong personal interests were active on both sides, and gave
bitterness to the strife. Frontenac, who always stood by his friends,
had placed Tonty, La Forêt, La Motte-Cadillac, and others of their
number, in charge of the forest posts, where they made good profit by
trade. Moreover, the licenses for trading expeditions into the
interior were now, as before, used largely for the benefit of his
favorites. The Jesuits also declared, and with some truth, that the
forest posts were centres of debauchery, and that the licenses for the
western trade were the ruin of innumerable young men. All these
reasons were laid before the king. In vain Frontenac represented that
to abandon the forest posts would be to resign to the English the
trade of the interior country, and at last the country itself. The
royal ear was open to his opponents, and the royal instincts
reinforced their arguments. The king, enamoured of subordination and
order, wished to govern Canada as he governed a province of France;
and this could be done only by keeping the population within
prescribed bounds. Therefore, he commanded that licenses for the
forest trade should cease, that the forest posts should be abandoned
and destroyed, that all Frenchmen should be ordered back to the
settlements, and that none should return under pain of the galleys. An
exception was made in favor of the Jesuits, who were allowed to
continue their western missions, subject to restrictions designed to
prevent them from becoming a cover to illicit fur trade. Frontenac was
also directed to make peace with the Iroquois, even, if necessary,
without including the western allies of France; that is, he was
authorized by Louis XIV to pursue the course which had discredited and
imperilled the colony under the rule of Denonville. [3]

The intentions of the king did not take effect. The policy of
Frontenac was the true one, whatever motives may have entered into his
advocacy of it. In view of the geographical, social, political, and
commercial conditions of Canada, the policy of his opponents was
impracticable, and nothing less than a perpetual cordon of troops
could have prevented the Canadians from escaping to the backwoods. In
spite of all the evils that attended the forest posts, it would have
been a blunder to abandon them. This quickly became apparent.
Champigny himself saw the necessity of compromise. The instructions of
the king were scarcely given before they were partially withdrawn, and
they soon became a dead letter. Even Fort Frontenac was retained after
repeated directions to abandon it. The policy of the governor
prevailed; the colony returned to its normal methods of growth, and so
continued to the end.

Now came the question of peace with the Iroquois, to whose mercy
Frontenac was authorized to leave his western allies. He was the last
man to accept such permission. Since the burning of Onondaga, the
Iroquois negotiations with the western tribes had been broken off, and
several fights had occurred, in which the confederates had suffered
loss and been roused to vengeance. This was what Frontenac wanted, but
at the same time it promised him fresh trouble; for, while he was
determined to prevent the Iroquois from making peace with the allies
without his authority, he was equally determined to compel them to do
so with it. There must be peace, though not till he could control its

The Onondaga campaign, unsatisfactory as it was, had had its effect.
Several Iroquois chiefs came to Quebec with overtures of peace. They
brought no prisoners, but promised to bring them in the spring; and
one of them remained as a hostage that the promise should be kept. It
was nevertheless broken under English influence; and, instead of a
solemn embassy, the council of Onondaga sent a messenger with a wampum
belt to tell Frontenac that they were all so engrossed in bewailing
the recent death of Black Kettle, a famous war chief, that they had no
strength to travel; and they begged that Onontio would return the
hostage, and send to them for the French prisoners. The messenger
farther declared that, though they would make peace with Onontio, they
would not make it with his allies. Frontenac threw back the peace-belt
into his face. "Tell the chiefs that, if they must needs stay at home
to cry about a trifle, I will give them something to cry for. Let them
bring me every prisoner, French and Indian, and make a treaty that
shall include all my children, or they shall feel my tomahawk again."
Then, turning to a number of Ottawas who were present: "You see that I
can make peace for myself when I please. If I continue the war, it is
only for your sake. I will never make a treaty without including you,
and recovering your prisoners like my own." Thus the matter stood,
when a great event took place. Early in February, a party of Dutch and
Indians came to Montreal with news that peace had been signed in
Europe; and, at the end of May, Major Peter Schuyler, accompanied by
Dellius, the minister of Albany, arrived with copies of the treaty in
French and Latin. The scratch of a pen at Byswick had ended the
conflict in America, so far at least as concerned the civilized
combatants. It was not till July that Frontenac received the official
announcement from Versailles, coupled with an address from the king to
the people of Canada.

OUR FAITHFUL AND BELOVED,--The moment has arrived ordained by Heaven
to reconcile the nations. The ratification of the treaty concluded
some time ago by our ambassadors with those of the Emperor and the
Empire, after having made peace with Spain, England, and Holland, has
everywhere restored the tranquillity so much desired. Strasbourg, one
of the chief ramparts of the empire of heresy, united for ever to the
Church and to our Crown; the Rhine established as the barrier between
France and Germany; and, what touches us even more, the worship of the
True Faith authorized by a solemn engagement with sovereigns of
another religion, are the advantages secured by this last treaty. The
Author of so many blessings manifests Himself so clearly that we
cannot but recognize His goodness; and the visible impress of His
all-powerful hand is as it were the seal He has affixed to justify our
intent to cause all our realm to serve and obey Him, and to make our
people happy. We have begun by the fulfilment of our duty in offering
Him the thanks which are His due; and we have ordered the archbishops
and bishops of our kingdom to cause _Te Deum_ to be sung in the
cathedrals of their dioceses. It is our will and our command that you
be present at that, which will be sung in the cathedral of our city of
Quebec, on the day appointed by the Count of Frontenac, our governor
and lieutenant-general in New France. Herein fail not, for such is our


[Footnote: _Lettre du Roy pour faire chanter le Te Deum, 12 Mars, 1698_.]

There was peace between the two crowns; but a serious question still
remained between Frontenac and the new governor of New York, the Earl
of Bellomont. When Schuyler and Dellius came to Quebec, they brought
with them all the French prisoners in the hands of the English of New
York, together with a promise from Bellomont that he would order the
Iroquois, subjects of the British crown, to deliver to him all those
in their possession, and that he would then send them to Canada under
a safe escort. The two envoys demanded of Frontenac, at the same time,
that he should deliver to them all the Iroquois in his hands. To give
up Iroquois prisoners to Bellomont, or to receive through him French
prisoners whom the Iroquois had captured, would have been an
acknowledgment of British sovereignty over the five confederate
tribes. Frontenac replied that the earl need give himself no trouble
in the matter, as the Iroquois were rebellious subjects of King Louis;
that they had already repented and begged peace; and that, if they did
not soon come to conclude it, he should use force to compel them.

Bellomont wrote, in return, that he had sent arms to the Iroquois,
with orders to defend themselves if attacked by the French, and to
give no quarter to them or their allies; and he added that, if
necessary, he would send soldiers to their aid. A few days after, he
received fresh news of Frontenac's warlike intentions, and wrote in
wrath as follows:--

SIR,--Two of our Indians, of the Nation called Onondages, came
yesterday to advise me that you had sent two renegades of their Nation
to them, to tell them and the other tribes, except the Mohawks, that,
in case they did not come to Canada within forty days to solicit peace
from you, they may expect your marching into their country at the head
of an army to constrain them thereunto by force. I, on my side, do
this very day send my lieutenant-governor with the king's troops to
join the Indians, and to oppose any hostilities you will attempt; and,
if needs be, I will arm every man in the Provinces under my government
to repel you, and to make reprisals for the damage which you will
commit on our Indians. This, in a few words, is the part I will take,
and the resolution I have adopted, whereof I have thought it proper by
these presents to give you notice.

I am, Sir, yours, &c.,
NEW YORK, 22d August, 1698.

To arm every man in his government would have been difficult. He did,
however, what he could, and ordered Captain Nanfan, the
lieutenant-governor, to repair to Albany; whence, on the first news
that the French were approaching, he was to march to the relief of the
Iroquois with the four shattered companies of regulars and as many of
the militia of Albany and Ulster as he could muster. Then the earl
sent Wessels, mayor of Albany, to persuade the Iroquois to deliver
their prisoners to him, and make no treaty with Frontenac. On the same
day, he despatched Captain John Schuyler to carry his letters to the
French governor. When Schuyler reached Quebec, and delivered the
letters, Frontenac read them with marks of great displeasure. "My Lord
Bellomont threatens me," he said. "Does he think that I am afraid of
him? He claims the Iroquois, but they are none of his. They call me
father, and they call him brother; and shall not a father chastise his
children when he sees fit?" A conversation followed, in which
Frontenac asked the envoy what was the strength of Bellomont's
government. Schuyler parried the question by a grotesque exaggeration,
and answered that the earl could bring about a hundred thousand men
into the field. Frontenac pretended to believe him, and returned with
careless gravity that he had always heard so.

The following Sunday was the day appointed for the _Te Deum_ ordered
by the king; and all the dignitaries of the colony, with a crowd of
lesser note, filled the cathedral. There was a dinner of ceremony at
the château, to which Schuyler was invited; and he found the table of
the governor thronged with officers. Frontenac called on his guests to
drink the health of King William. Schuyler replied by a toast in honor
of King Louis; and the governor next gave the health of the Earl of
Bellomont. The peace was then solemnly proclaimed, amid the firing of
cannon from the batteries and ships; and the day closed with a bonfire
and a general illumination. On the next evening, Frontenac gave
Schuyler a letter in answer to the threats of the earl. He had written
with trembling hand, but unshaken will and unbending pride:--

"I am determined to pursue my course without flinching; and I request
you not to try to thwart me by efforts which will prove useless. All
the protection and aid you tell me that you have given, and will
continue to give, the Iroquois, against the terms of the treaty, will
not cause me much alarm, nor make me change my plans, but rather, on
the contrary, engage me to pursue them still more." [4]

As the old soldier traced these lines, the shadow of death was upon
him. Toils and years, passions and cares, had wasted his strength at
last, and his fiery soul could bear him up no longer. A few weeks
later he was lying calmly on his death-bed.

[1] _Relation de ce qui s'est passé, etc_., 1695, 1696; La Potherie,
III. 279. Callieres and the author of the Relation of 1682-1712 also
speak of the extraordinary fortitude of the victim. The Jesuits say
that it was not the Christian Indians who insisted on burning him, but
the French themselves, "qui voulurent absolument qu'il fût brulé à
petit feu, ce qu'ils executèrent eux-mêmes. Un Jesuite le confessa et
l'assista à la mort, l'encourageant à souffrir courageusement et
_chrêtiennement_ les tourmens." _Relation_ de 1696 (Shea), 10. This
writer adds that, when Frontenac heard of it, he ordered him to be
spared; but it was too late. Charlevoix misquotes the old Stoic's last
words, which were, according to the official Relation of 1695-6: "Je
te remercie mais tu aurais bien dû achever de me faire mourir par le
feu. Apprenez, chiens de François, à souffrir, et vous sauvages leurs
allies, qui êtes les chiens des chiens, souvenez vous de ce que vous
devez faire quand vous serez en pareil état que moi."

[2] On the expedition against the Onondagas, _Callières au Ministre,
20 Oct., 1696; Frontenac au Ministre, 25 Oct., 1696; Frontenac et
Champigny au Ministre (lettre commune) 26 Oct., 1696; Relation de ce
qui s'est passé, etc., 1695, 1696; Relation, 1682-1712; Relation des
Jesuites, 1696_(Shea); _Doc. Hist. N. Y._, I. 323-355; La Potherie,
III. 270-282; _N. Y. Col. Docs_., IV. 242. Charlevoix charges
Frontenac on this occasion with failing to pursue his advantage, lest
others, and especially Callières, should get more honor than he. The
accusation seems absolutely groundless. His many enemies were silent
about it at the time; for the king warmly commends his conduct on the
expedition, and Callières himself, writing immediately after, gives
him nothing but praise.

[3] _Mémoire du Roy pour Frontenac et Champigny, 26 Mai, 1696;
Ibid., 27 Avril, 1697; Registres du Conseil Supérieur, Edit du 21 Mai,

"Ce qui vous avez mandé de l'accommodement des Sauvages alliés avec
les Irocois n'a pas permis à Sa Majesté d'entrer dans la discution de
la manière de faire l'abandonnement des postes des François dans la
profondeur des terres, particulièrement â Missilimackinac ... En tout
cas vous ne devez pas manquer de donner ordre pour ruiner les forts et
tous les édifices qui pourront y avoir esté faits." _Le Ministre à
Frontenac, 26 Mai, 1696_.

Besides the above, many other letters and despatches on both sides
have been examined in relation to these questions.

[4] On the questions between Bellomont and Frontenac, _Relation de ce
qui s'est passé, etc.,_ 1697, 1698; _Champigny a Ministre,_ 12
_Juillet,_ 1698; _Frontenac au Ministre,_ 18 _Oct.,_ 1698; _Frontenac
et Champigny au Ministre (lettre commune),_ 15 _Oct.,_ 1698;
_Calliéres au Ministre, même date, etc._ The correspondence of
Frontenac and Bellomont, the report of Peter Schuyler and Dellius, the
journal of John Schuyler, and other papers on the same subjects, will
be found in _N. Y. Col. Docs.,_ IV. John Schuyler was grandfather of
General Schuyler of the American Revolution. Peter Schuyler and his
colleague Dellius brought to Canada all the French prisoners in the
hands of the English of New York, and asked for English prisoners in
return; but nearly all of these preferred to remain, a remarkable
proof of the kindness with which the Canadians treated their civilized





In November, when the last ship had gone, and Canada was sealed from
the world for half a year, a mortal illness fell upon the governor. On
the twenty-second, he had strength enough to dictate his will, seated
in an easy-chair in his chamber at the château. His colleague and
adversary, Champigny, often came to visit him, and did all in his
power to soothe his last moments. The reconciliation between them was
complete. One of his Récollet friends, Father Olivier Goyer,
administered extreme unction; and, on the afternoon of the
twenty-eighth, he died, in perfect composure and full possession of
his faculties. He was in his seventy-eighth year.

He was greatly beloved by the humbler classes, who, days before his
death, beset the château, praising and lamenting him. Many of higher
station shared the popular grief. "He was the love and delight of New
France," says one of them: "churchmen honored him for his piety,
nobles esteemed him for his valor, merchants respected him for his
equity, and the people loved him for his kindness." [Footnote: La
Potherie, I. 244, 246.] "He was the father of the poor," says another,
"the protector of the oppressed, and a perfect model of virtue and
piety." [Footnote: Hennepin, 41 (1704). Le Clerc speaks to the same
effect.] An Ursuline nun regrets him as the friend and patron of her
sisterhood, and so also does the superior of the Hôtel-Dieu.
[Footnote: _Histoire des Ursulines de Québec_, I. 508; Juchereau,
378.] His most conspicuous though not his bitterest opponent, the
intendant Champigny, thus announced his death to the court: "I venture
to send this letter by way of New England to tell you that Monsieur le
Comte de Frontenac died on the twenty-eighth of last month, with the
sentiments of a true Christian. After all the disputes we have had
together, you will hardly believe, Monseigneur, how truly and deeply I
am touched by his death. He treated me during his illness in a manner
so obliging, that I should be utterly void of gratitude if I did not
feel thankful to him." [Footnote: _Champigny au Ministre, 22 Dec._,

As a mark of kind feeling, Frontenac had bequeathed to the intendant a
valuable crucifix, and to Madame de Champigny a reliquary which he had
long been accustomed to wear. For the rest, he gave fifteen hundred
livres to the Récollets, to be expended in masses for his soul, and
that of his wife after her death. To her he bequeathed all the
remainder of his small property, and he also directed that his heart
should be sent her in a case of lead or silver. [Footnote: _Testament
du Comte de Frontenac._ I am indebted to Abbé Bois of Maskinongé for a
copy of this will. Frontenac expresses a wish that the heart should be
placed in the family tomb at the Church of St. Nicolas des Champs.]
His enemies reported that she refused to accept it, saying that she
had never had it when he was living, and did not want it when he was

On the Friday after his death, he was buried as he had directed, not
in the cathedral, but in the church of the Récollets, a preference
deeply offensive to many of the clergy. The bishop officiated; and
then the Récollet, Father Goyer, who had attended his death-bed, and
seems to have been his confessor, mounted the pulpit, and delivered
his funeral oration. "This funeral pageantry," exclaimed the orator,
"this temple draped in mourning, these dim lights, this sad and solemn
music, this great assembly bowed in sorrow, and all this pomp and
circumstance of death, may well penetrate your hearts. I will not seek
to dry your tears, for I cannot contain my own. After all, this is a
time to weep, and never did people weep for a better governor."

A copy of this eulogy fell into the hands of an enemy of Frontenac,
who wrote a running commentary upon it. The copy thus annotated is
still preserved at Quebec. A few passages from the orator and his
critic will show the violent conflict of opinion concerning the
governor, and illustrate in some sort, though with more force than
fairness, the contradictions of his character:--

_The Orator_. "This wise man, to whom the Senate of Venice listened
with respectful attention, because he spoke before them with all the
force of that eloquence which you, Messieurs, have so often admired,--
[Footnote: Alluding to an incident that occurred when Frontenac
commanded a Venetian force for the defence of Candia against the

_The Critic_. "It was not his eloquence that they admired, but his
extravagant pretensions, his bursts of rage, and his unworthy
treatment of those who did not agree with him."

_The Orator_. "This disinterested man, more busied with duty than with

_The Critic_. "The less said about that the better."

_The Orator_. "Who made the fortune of others, but did not increase
his own,--

_The Critic_. "Not for want of trying, and that very often in spite of
his conscience and the king's orders."

_The Orator_. "Devoted to the service of his king, whose majesty he
represented, and whose person he loved,--

_The Critic_. "Not at all. How often has he opposed his orders, even
with force and violence, to the great scandal of everybody!"

_The Orator_. "Great in the midst of difficulties, by that consummate
prudence, that solid judgment, that presence of mind, that breadth and
elevation of thought, which he retained to the last moment of his

_The Critic_. "He had in fact a great capacity for political
manoeuvres and tricks; but as for the solid judgment ascribed to him,
his conduct gives it the lie, or else, if he had it, the vehemence of
his passions often unsettled it. It is much to be feared that his
presence of mind was the effect of an obstinate and hardened
self-confidence by which he put himself above everybody and every
thing, since he never used it to repair, so far as in him lay, the
public and private wrongs he caused. What ought he not to have done
here, in this temple, to ask pardon for the obstinate and furious heat
with which he so long persecuted the Church; upheld and even
instigated rebellion against her; protected libertines,
scandal-mongers, and creatures of evil life against the ministers of
Heaven; molested, persecuted, vexed persons most eminent in virtue,
nay, even the priests and magistrates, who defended the cause of God;
sustained in all sorts of ways the wrongful and scandalous traffic in
brandy with the Indians; permitted, approved, and supported the
license and abuse of taverns; authorized and even introduced, in spite
of the remonstrances of the servants of God, criminal and dangerous
diversions; tried to decry the bishop and the clergy, the
missionaries, and other persons of virtue, and to injure them, both
here and in France, by libels and calumnies; caused, in fine, either
by himself or through others, a multitude of disorders, under which
this infant church has groaned for many years! What, I say, ought he
not to have done before dying to atone for these scandals, and give
proof of sincere penitence and compunction? God gave him full time to
recognize his errors, and yet to the last he showed a great
indifference in all these matters. When, in presence of the Holy
Sacrament, he was asked according to the ritual, 'Do you not beg
pardon for all the ill examples you may have given?' he answered,
'Yes,' but did not confess that he had ever given any. In a word, he
behaved during the few days before his death like one who had led an
irreproachable life, and had nothing to fear. And this is the presence
of mind that he retained to his last moment!"

_The Orator._ "Great in dangers by his courage, he always came off
with honor, and never was reproached with rashness,--

_The Critic._ "True; he was not rash, as was seen when the Bostonnais
besieged Quebec."

_The Orator_. "Great in religion by his piety, he practised its good
works in spirit and in truth,--

_The Critic_. "Say rather that he practised its forms with parade and
ostentation: witness the inordinate ambition with which he always
claimed honors in the Church, to which he had no right; outrageously
affronted intendants, who opposed his pretensions; required priests to
address him when preaching, and in their intercourse with him demanded
from them humiliations which he did not exact from the meanest
military officer. This was his way of making himself great in
_religion and piety_, or, more truly, in vanity and hypocrisy. How can
a man be called _great in religion_, when he openly holds opinions
entirely opposed to the True Faith, such as, that _all men are
predestined_, that _Hell will not last for ever_, and the like?"

_The Orator._ "His very look inspired esteem and confidence,--

_The Critic._ "Then one must have taken him at exactly the right
moment, and not when he was foaming at the mouth with rage."

_The Orator._ "A mingled air of nobility and gentleness; a countenance
that bespoke the probity that appeared in all his acts, and a
sincerity that could not dissimulate,--

_The Critic._ "The eulogist did not know the old fox."

_The Orator._ "An inviolable fidelity to friends,--

_The Critic._ "What friends? Was it persons of the other sex? Of these
he was always fond, and too much for the honor of some of them."

_The Orator._ "Disinterested for himself, ardent for others, he used
his credit at court only to recommend their services, excuse their
faults, and obtain favors for them,--

_The Critic_. "True; but it was for his creatures and for nobody

_The Orator_. "I pass in silence that reading of spiritual books which
he practised as an indispensable duty more than forty years; that holy
avidity with which he listened to the word of God,--

_The Critic_. "Only if the preacher addressed the sermon to him, and
called him _Monseigneur_. As for his reading, it was often Jansenist
books, of which he had a great many, and which he greatly praised and
lent freely to others."

_The Orator_. "He prepared for the sacraments by meditation and

_The Critic_. "And generally came out of his retreat more excited than
ever against the Church."

_The Orator_. "Let us not recall his ancient and noble descent, his
family connected with all that is greatest in the army, the
magistracy, and the government; Knights, Marshals of France, Governors
of Provinces, Judges, Councillors, and Ministers of State: let us not,
I say, recall all these without remembering that their examples roused
this generous heart to noble emulation; and, as an expiring flame
grows brighter as it dies, so did all the virtues of his race unite at
last in him to end with glory a long line of great men, that shall be
no more except in history."

_The Critic_. "Well laid on, and too well for his hearers to believe
him. Far from agreeing that all these virtues were collected in the
person of his pretended _hero_, they would find it very hard to admit
that he had even one of them." [Footnote: _Oraison Funèbre du
très-haut et très-puissant Seigneur Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac
et de Palluau, etc., avec des remarques critiques_, 1698. That
indefatigable investigator of Canadian history, the late M. Jacques
Viger, to whom I am indebted for a copy of this eulogy, suggested that
the anonymous critic may have been Abbé la Tour, author of the _Vie de
Laval_. If so, his statements need the support of more trustworthy
evidence. The above extracts are not consecutive, but are taken from
various parts of the manuscript.]

It is clear enough from what quiver these arrows came. From the first,
Frontenac had set himself in opposition to the most influential of the
Canadian clergy. When he came to the colony, their power in the
government was still enormous, and even the most devout of his
predecessors had been forced into conflict with them to defend the
civil authority; but, when Frontenac entered the strife, he brought
into it an irritability, a jealous and exacting vanity, a love of
rule, and a passion for having his own way, even in trifles, which
made him the most exasperating of adversaries. Hence it was that many
of the clerical party felt towards him a bitterness that was far from
ending with his life.

The sentiment of a religion often survives its convictions. However
heterodox in doctrine, he was still wedded to the observances of the
Church, and practised them, under the ministration of the Récollets,
with an assiduity that made full amends to his conscience for the
vivacity with which he opposed the rest of the clergy. To the
Récollets their patron was the most devout of men; to his ultramontane
adversaries, he was an impious persecutor.

His own acts and words best paint his character, and it is needless to
enlarge upon it. What perhaps may be least forgiven him is the
barbarity of the warfare that he waged, and the cruelties that he
permitted. He had seen too many towns sacked to be much subject to the
scruples of modern humanitarianism; yet he was no whit more ruthless
than his times and his surroundings, and some of his contemporaries
find fault with him for not allowing more Indian captives to be
tortured. Many surpassed him in cruelty, none equalled him in capacity
and vigor. When civilized enemies were once within his power, he
treated them, according to their degree, with a chivalrous courtesy,
or a generous kindness. If he was a hot and pertinacious foe, he was
also a fast friend; and he excited love and hatred in about equal
measure. His attitude towards public enemies was always proud and
peremptory, yet his courage was guided by so clear a sagacity that he
never was forced to recede from the position he had taken. Towards
Indians, he was an admirable compound of sternness and conciliation.
Of the immensity of his services to the colony there can be no doubt.
He found it, under Denonville, in humiliation and terror; and he left
it in honor, and almost in triumph.

In spite of Father Goyer, greatness must be denied him; but a more
remarkable figure, in its bold and salient individuality and sharply
marked light and shadow, is nowhere seen in American history.

[Footnote: There is no need to exaggerate the services of Frontenac.
Nothing could be more fallacious than the assertion, often repeated,
that in his time Canada withstood the united force of all the British
colonies. Most of these colonies took no part whatever in the war.
Only two of them took an aggressive part, New York and Massachusetts.
New York attacked Canada twice, with the two inconsiderable
war-parties of John Schuyler in 1690 and of Peter Schuyler in the next
year. The feeble expedition under Winthrop did not get beyond Lake
George. Massachusetts, or rather her seaboard towns, attacked Canada
once. Quebec, it is true, was kept in alarm during several years by
rumors of another attack from the same quarter; but no such danger
existed, as Massachusetts was exhausted by her first effort. The real
scourge of Canada was the Iroquois, supplied with arms and ammunition
from Albany.]





It did not need the presence of Frontenac to cause snappings and
sparks in the highly electrical atmosphere of New France. Callières
took his place as governor _ad interim_, and in due time received a
formal appointment to the office. Apart from the wretched state of his
health, undermined by gout and dropsy, he was in most respects well
fitted for it; but his deportment at once gave umbrage to the
excitable Champigny, who declared that he had never seen such
_hauteur_ since he came to the colony. Another official was still more
offended. "Monsieur de Frontenac," he says, "was no sooner dead than
trouble began. Monsieur de Callières, puffed up by his new authority,
claims honors due only to a marshal of France. It would be a different
matter if he, like his predecessor, were regarded as the father of the
country, and the love and delight of the Indian allies. At the review
at Montreal, he sat in his carriage, and received the incense offered
him with as much composure and coolness as if he had been some
divinity of this New World." In spite of these complaints, the court
sustained Callieres, and authorized him to enjoy the honors that he
had assumed. [Footnote: _Champigny au Ministre,_ 26 _Mai,_ 1699; _La
Potherie au Ministre,_ 2 _Juin,_ 1699; _Vaudreuil et La Potherie au
Ministre, même date_.]

His first and chief task was to finish the work that Frontenac had
shaped out, and bring the Iroquois to such submission as the interests
of the colony and its allies demanded. The fierce confederates admired
the late governor, and, if they themselves are to be believed, could
not help lamenting him; but they were emboldened by his death, and the
difficulty of dealing with them was increased by it. Had they been
sure of effectual support from the English, there can be little doubt
that they would have refused to treat with the French, of whom their
distrust was extreme. The treachery of Denonville at Fort Frontenac
still rankled in their hearts, and the English had made them believe
that some of their best men had lately been poisoned by agents from
Montreal. The French assured them, on the other hand, that the English
meant to poison them, refuse to sell them powder and lead, and then,
when they were helpless, fall upon and destroy them. At Montreal, they
were told that the English called them their negroes; and, at Albany,
that if they made peace with Onontio, they would sink into "perpetual
infamy and slavery." Still, in spite of their perplexity, they
persisted in asserting their independence of each of the rival powers,
and played the one against the other, in order to strengthen their
position with both. When Bellomont required them to surrender their
French prisoners to him, they answered: "We are the masters; our
prisoners are our own. We will keep them or give them to the French,
if we choose." At the same time, they told Callières that they would
bring them to the English at Albany, and invited him to send thither
his agents to receive them. They were much disconcerted, however, when
letters were read to them which showed that, pending the action of
commissioners to settle the dispute, the two kings had ordered their
respective governors to refrain from all acts of hostility, and join
forces, if necessary, to compel the Iroquois to keep quiet. [Footnote:
_Le Roy à Frontenac, 25 Mars_, 1699. Frontenac's death was not known
at Versailles till April. _Le Roy d' Angleterre a Bellomont, 2 Avril_,
1699; La Potherie, IV. 128; _Callières à Bellomont, 7 Août_, 1699.]
This, with their enormous losses, and their desire to recover their
people held captive in Canada, led them at last to serious thoughts of
peace. Resolving at the same time to try the temper of the new
Onontio, and yield no more than was absolutely necessary, they sent
him but six ambassadors, and no prisoners. The ambassadors marched in
single file to the place of council; while their chief, who led the
way, sang a dismal song of lamentation for the French slain in the
war, calling on them to thrust their heads above ground, behold the
good work of peace, and banish every thought of vengeance. Callières
proved, as they had hoped, less inexorable than Frontenac. He accepted
their promises, and consented to send for the prisoners in their
hands, on condition that within thirty-six days a full deputation of
their principal men should come to Montreal. The Jesuit Bruyas, the
Canadian Maricourt, and a French officer named Joncaire went back with
them to receive the prisoners.

The history of Joncaire was a noteworthy one. The Senecas had captured
him some time before, tortured his companions to death, and doomed him
to the same fate. As a preliminary torment, an old chief tried to burn
a finger of the captive in the bowl of his pipe, on which Joncaire
knocked him down. If he had begged for mercy, their hearts would have
been flint; but the warrior crowd were so pleased with this proof of
courage that they adopted him as one of their tribe, and gave him an
Iroquois wife. He lived among them for many years, and gained a
commanding influence, which proved very useful to the French. When he,
with Bruyas and Maricourt, approached Onondaga, which had long before
risen from its ashes, they were greeted with a fusillade of joy, and
regaled with the sweet stalks of young maize, followed by the more
substantial refreshment of venison and corn beaten together into a
pulp and boiled. The chiefs and elders seemed well inclined to peace;
and, though an envoy came from Albany to prevent it, he behaved with
such arrogance that, far from dissuading his auditors, he confirmed
them in their resolve to meet Onontio at Montreal. They seemed willing
enough to give up their French prisoners, but an unexpected difficulty
arose from the prisoners themselves. They had been adopted into
Iroquois families; and, having become attached to the Indian life,
they would not leave it. Some of them hid in the woods to escape their
deliverers, who, with their best efforts, could collect but thirteen,
all women, children, and boys. With these, they returned to Montreal,
accompanied By a peace embassy of nineteen Iroquois.

Peace, then, was made. "I bury the hatchet," said Callières, "in a
deep hole, and over the hole I place a great rock, and over the rock I
turn a river, that the hatchet may never be dug up again." The famous
Huron, Kondiaronk, or the Rat, was present, as were also a few
Ottawas, Abenakis, and converts of the Saut and the Mountain. Sharp
words passed between them and the ambassadors; but at last they all
laid down their hatchets at the feet of Onontio, and signed the treaty
together. It was but a truce, and a doubtful one. More was needed to
confirm it, and the following August was named for a solemn act of
ratification. [Footnote: On these negotiations, La Potherie, IV.
lettre xi.; N. Y. Col. Docs., IX. 708, 711, 715; Colden, 200;
Callières au Ministre, 16 Oct., 1700; Champigny au Ministre, 22
Juillet, 1700; La Potherie au Ministre, 11 Aout, 1700; Ibid., 16 Oct.,
1700; Callières et Champigny au Ministre, 18 Oct., 1700. See also N.
Y. Col. Docs., IV., for a great number of English documents bearing on
the subject.]

Father Engelran was sent to Michillimackinac, while Courtemanche spent
the winter and spring in toilsome journeyings among the tribes of the
west. Such was his influence over them that he persuaded them all to
give up their Iroquois prisoners, and send deputies to the grand
council. Engelran had had scarcely less success among the northern
tribes; and early in July a great fleet of canoes, conducted by
Courtemanche, and filled with chiefs, warriors, and Iroquois
prisoners, paddled down the lakes for Montreal. Meanwhile Bruyas,
Maricourt, and Joncaire had returned on the same errand to the
Iroquois towns; but, so far as concerned prisoners, their success was
no greater than before. Whether French or Indian, the chiefs were slow
to give them up, saying that they had all been adopted into families
who would not part with them unless consoled for the loss by gifts.
This was true; but it was equally true of the other tribes, whose
chiefs had made the necessary gifts, and recovered the captive
Iroquois. Joncaire and his colleagues succeeded, however, in leading a
large deputation of chiefs and elders to Montreal.

Courtemanche with his canoe fleet from the lakes was not far behind;
and when their approach was announced, the chronicler, La Potherie,
full of curiosity, went to meet them at the mission village of the
Saut. First appeared the Iroquois, two hundred in all, firing their
guns as their canoes drew near, while the mission Indians, ranged
along the shore, returned the salute. The ambassadors were conducted
to a capacious lodge, where for a quarter of an hour they sat smoking
with immovable composure. Then a chief of the mission made a speech,
and then followed a feast of boiled dogs. In the morning they
descended the rapids to Montreal, and in due time the distant roar of
the saluting cannon told of their arrival.

They had scarcely left the village, when the river was covered with
the canoes of the western and northern allies. There was another
fusillade of welcome as the heterogeneous company landed, and marched
to the great council-house. The calumet was produced, and twelve of
the assembled chiefs sang a song, each rattling at the same time a
dried gourd half full of peas. Six large kettles were next brought in,
containing several dogs and a bear suitably chopped to pieces, which
being ladled out to the guests were despatched in an instant, and a
solemn dance and a supper of boiled corn closed the festivity.

The strangers embarked again on the next day, and the cannon of
Montreal greeted them as they landed before the town. A great quantity
of evergreen boughs had been gathered for their use, and of these they
made their wigwams outside the palisades. Before the opening of the
grand council, a multitude of questions must be settled, jealousies
soothed, and complaints answered. Callières had no peace. He was
busied for a week in giving audience to the deputies. There was one
question which agitated them all, and threatened to rekindle the war.
Kondiaronk, the Rat, the foremost man among all the allied tribes,
gave utterance to the general feeling: "My father, you told us last
autumn to bring you all the Iroquois prisoners in our hands. We have
obeyed, and brought them. Now let us see if the Iroquois have also
obeyed, and brought you our people whom they captured during the war.
If they have done so, they are sincere; if not, they are false. But I
know that they have not brought them. I told you last year that it was
better that they should bring their prisoners first. You see now how
it is, and how they have deceived us."

The complaint was just, and the situation became critical. The
Iroquois deputies were invited to explain themselves. They stalked
into the council-room with their usual haughty composure, and readily
promised to surrender the prisoners in future, but offered no hostages
for their good faith. The Rat, who had counselled his own and other
tribes to bring their Iroquois captives to Montreal, was excessively
mortified at finding himself duped. He came to a later meeting, when
this and other matters were to be discussed; but he was so weakened by
fever that he could not stand. An armchair was brought him; and,
seated in it, he harangued the assembly for two hours, amid a deep
silence, broken only by ejaculations of approval from his Indian
hearers. When the meeting ended, he was completely exhausted; and,
being carried in his chair to the hospital, he died about midnight. He
was a great loss to the French; for, though he had caused the massacre
of La Chine, his services of late years had been invaluable. In spite
of his unlucky name, he was one of the ablest North American Indians
on record, as appears by his remarkable influence over many tribes,
and by the respect, not to say admiration, of his French

The French charged themselves with the funeral rites, carried the dead
chief to his wigwam, stretched him on a robe of beaver skin, and left
him there lying in state, swathed in a scarlet blanket, with a kettle,
a gun, and a sword at his side, for his use in the world of spirits.
This was a concession to the superstition of his countrymen; for the
Rat was a convert, and went regularly to mass. [Footnote: La Potherie,
IV. 229. Charlevoix suppresses the kettle and gun, and says that the
dead chief wore a sword and a uniform, like a French officer. In fact,
he wore Indian leggins and a capote under his scarlet blanket.] Even
the Iroquois, his deadliest foes, paid tribute to his memory. Sixty of
them came in solemn procession, and ranged themselves around the bier;
while one of their principal chiefs pronounced an harangue, in which
he declared that the sun had covered his face that day in grief for
the loss of the great Huron. [Footnote: Charlevoix says that these
were Christian Iroquois of the missions. Potherie, his only authority,
proves them to have been heathen, as their chief mourner was a noted
Seneca, and their spokesman, Avenano, was the accredited orator of the
Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas, in whose name he made the


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